My Top 5 Stress Triggers

8 Mar

The first step to managing stress is recognizing triggers.  Behold, these are the top 5 things that trigger a stress reaction for me:

1.  Bad surprises.  Don’t get me wrong  I love surprises, but I only love good surprises.  The #1 worst feeling for me is when something bad happens unexpectedly.  I prepare for everything so part of the difficulty for me is just wrapping my head around the fact that I didn’t prepare for the scenario.  I get so flustered by the surprise that it hinders my problem solving skills.

2.  Feeling out of control.  While this happened much more frequently at the previous job, it still occurs from time to time at my present job.  There are a million analogies to explain this feeling (the Snowball Effect or Run Away Train).  The biggest challenge for me with this trigger is that the more overwhelmed I get, the most difficult it is for me to shake the stress.

3.  Fear of error.  Not only am I a perfectionist, I am also hypersensitive to the way people view my work.  If my work does not reflect my standards, I am mortified when someone notices an error.  The worst case scenario for me is if my error affects another person in a negative way (Forgetting to book a hotel room for an interviewer, miscalculating the number of people attending an event, etc).

4.  The people who surround me.  If I had a dollar for every time someone told me “Don’t let other people affect you’re mood” I’d be rich.  Unfortunately for me, I have a lot of difficultly separating myself from others’ emotions.  When someone around me is stressed out, I stress out.

5.  Feeling Clueless.  This was my biggest source of stress in my previous job.  This trigger typically manifests itself in situations that are pressing but I don’t know enough about it to solve the problem.

Now that I am more aware of the patterns that trigger stress for me, I can be on the lookout for these scenarios as they occur and before they can trigger stress for me.  Although identifying them triggers isn’t going to solve the problem, it will at least prepare me for a stressful situation.

The next step for me is to reflect on the effects of stress on my life at work and outside of work.  I also want to identify ways that I currently release stress and come up with a few new ways to release stress in the future.


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